Tears, praises and ululation as NMBM unveils new street names in GqeberhaPublished: November 29, 2023
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Following an extensive and successful democratic process, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality officially unveiled new street names in four major routes in Gqeberha.
This comes after all required steps were followed according to the South African Geographic Names Council Act (118 of 1998) and the NMBM naming and renaming policy.
The unveiling which took place on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, started off at Strand Street, Gqeberha Central Business District, where the late renowned freedom fighter Steve Biko’s name was unveiled as the new name to replace Strand Street.
Biko’s name was proposed for the renaming of Strand Street by Azapo as he was tortured inside the ‘Sanlam Building’ on Strand Street before he was transported naked at the back of the security van to Pretoria in 1977.
NMBM Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Mayoral Committee Member, Cllr Bassie Kamana said the renaming of the four streets and naming of the new Ward 17 swimming pool was part of the Metro’s work to deliver on what NMBM residents want in their communities.
"It is our mandate to redress disparities of the past and facilitate social cohesion. We are here today to deliver on an extensive consultative process that started some five years ago, to celebrate our heroes following Council’s approval of the new names,” he said.
The five unveiled names are:
- Strand Street renamed Steve Biko Street
- Avenue E Street (New Brighton) renamed Sizwe Kondile Street
- Ferguson Road (New Brighton) renamed George Pemba Road
- Aggrey Street (New Brighton) renamed Nomhle Nkonyeni Street
- New Ward 17 swimming pool named as Thozamile Cecil Magqabi swimming
"Our Metro has a rich history and our residents want to see their representation in their communities. It is our responsibility to ensure that the names of these great men and women who contributed immensely in our Bay are celebrated and their names live on. Everyone knows the late Sis Nomhle, she is one of the greatest theatrical actors South Africa has produced. President Ramaphosa even bestowed her with the National Order of Ikhamanga for her outstanding role in Arts.”
"We celebrate the late George Pemba who was born in Korsten and was encouraged by his father to draw and paint murals in the family house. He followed his craft and won a number of scholarships in his pursuit of it. His first work was first exhibited at the Feather Market Hall, Gqeberha in 1928 when he was 16 years old. His work was influenced by the conditions of the time and he received many awards including, The Order of Ikhamanga in gold posthumously for his contribution to the arts and literature. His work is iconic and world-renowned,” MMC Kamana added.
Sizwe Kondile, who was highlighted as an unsung hero of the struggle left the country in pursuit of a democratic South Africa. He joined Umkhonto Wesizwe in Lesotho and worked closely with Chris Hani who was the Chief of Staff of the ANC’s Military Wing. He was abducted by the Apartheid Security Force and was later murdered for his refusal to cooperate during interrogations.
The new swimming pool in Ward 17 has been named after Thozamile Celil Magqabi who was born in the Red Location area. He was active in the politics of the struggle in the 1950s and was a member of the ANC Youth League.
"He was one of the activists who were arrested and detained in Robben Island. Even after his release from prison, he continued working with the likes of Oom Henry Fazzie, Oom Edgar Ngoyi and many others in the height of the repressive State of Emergency. He served his country with flying colours,” Kamana said.
Family representatives who attended the unveiling welcomed the move and thanked NMBM for the honour.
Nkonyeni’s son, Teboho Nkonyeni said: "On behalf of the Nkonyeni family, we are honoured by this gesture from NMBM as our mother was born and bred in the streets of New Brighton. She inspired so many people from the township to take up the arts and it is up to us who are left behind to ensure that whatever seed she planted prospers so we can have other Nomhle’s who will lift the NMB name around the world.”
Issued by the NMBM Communications Office.